Yachting in the Florida Keys
Florida — a haven for yachters, with the Keys serving as their ultimate retreat. Cruising from Miami to the southernmost point of the U.S. is a seamless transition from the hustle and bustle of vibrant city life to a laid-back and serene place. The forthcoming high season — spanning from mid-December to mid-April — invites Exclusive Yachts members at the ‘Presidente’ level and higher to explore the Florida Keys aboard one of the luxury yachts in our expanding Florida fleet. A journey that reveals pristine beaches, historic landmarks, breathtaking coral reefs, and an array of exotic wildlife for every mile cruised. The Florida Keys are home to numerous endangered species including the key deer, iguanas, spiny lobsters, and sea turtles.
America’s Only Living Coral Reef
The Key West Coral Reef — ranked as the world’s third-largest coral barrier reef, holds the distinction of being the only coral reef in the U.S. Stretching 358 miles from Dry Tortugas National Park up to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County, it’s renowned for its rich biodiversity, pristine waters, and allure for divers. This ecosystem is bustling with a myriad of corals, fish, and other marine life. If you’re ready to explore the underwater wonders or just catch a break from everyday hustle, then a 7-day yachting journey is just the right ticket. The number of Exclusive Yachts ‘YachtPoints’ required hinges entirely on the size of the yacht you select — thanks to our innovative point system, the usual concerns of fuel costs and crew tips are a thing of the past.
Day 1 — Departure from Miami
Start the trip off with a delightful breakfast as you depart from Miami Beach Marina. With the iconic Miami skyline fading behind — witness the gentle hues of dawn adorn Stiltsville and Biscayne National Park while you set course southward.
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Cruising Past Historic Sites
Let your Exclusive Yachts crew manage your luggage and make you comfortable as you commence your voyage to your evening’s destination. Along this cruise, you’ll encounter notable dive sites at historical landmarks, such as the Mandalay Wreck and Erl Wreck. Your captain will navigate this voyage at your desired pace, pausing to dive, fish, or revel in water activities like sea bobs or jet skis if you wish. Catching a glimpse of the Carysfort Lighthouse means you’re at the right latitude for the evening’s anchorage. It’s time to approach the shores of North Key Largo — drop anchor and prepare for dinner against the backdrop of the diving capital, with twinkling stars and the moon serving as your ambient lighting — the perfect end of day one yachting in the Florida Keys.
Day 2 — Greetings from North Key Largo
Wake up to the gentle rhythm of waves caressing the yacht — it’s a brand new day yachting in the Florida Keys. This day in Key Largo is all about discovering the hidden beauty under the surface — starting at John Pennekamp Marine Park. This 70-square-mile aquatic wonderland is America’s first underwater park catering to scuba enthusiasts. The park’s underwater temptation draws divers from across the globe with its stunning array of soft and hard corals, vibrant tropical fish, starfish, sea urchins, and even the occasional turtle. The park’s crystalline waters promise excellent visibility, enhancing your underwater adventure.
Beyond its natural magnificence, the park offers artificial reefs in sunken wrecks, with the iconic “Christ of the Abyss” bronze sculpture nestled within the Dry Rocks area as a notable highlight. For those who prefer staying above the surface, the park’s charm is just as captivating. The park’s name serves as a tribute to Mr. Pennekamp for his relentless efforts in conserving South Florida’s natural marvels.
Evening Delights in Key Marathon
As the day’s activities wind down and your energy ebbs, set course for Key Marathon. Your crew will serve a delectable dinner aboard the yacht Alternatively, you might choose to anchor at Safe Harbour Marina in order to explore the local gastronomy. Consider an evening at Porky’s Bayside to enjoy BBQ, sushi, and local seafood amidst an authentic Florida Keys ambiance. Sip on the town’s finest Mojito and groove to live tunes from 6-9 p.m. If the town’s best mojito doesn’t draw you in, perhaps its top appetizer might.
The buzz around town suggests that Barracuda Grill’s Tuna Tataki is a must-try… This steakhouse not only tempts you with its mouth-watering steaks and seafood but also embraces you in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Once filled with culinary joy, retreat to your cabin — a restful night promises to rejuvenate you, prepping you for tomorrow.
Day 3 — Marathon
Good morning from Marathon! After yesterday’s deep dive into the ocean’s mysteries, gear up for a day with thrilling surface pursuits and fishing experiences unlike anything else. Marathon prides itself on its long-standing fishing heritage and still claims to be one of the globe’s premier fishing destinations to this day. The region’s sprawling miles of shallow, teeming waters, combined with its favorable climate, make it a fisherman’s dream. The shallows are perfect for flats fishing, and the potential catch list is impressive — shrimp, crabs, snook, redfish, snapper, barracuda, and even sharks.
Adventures Beyond the Rod
Today, make your way through Marathon’s breathtaking locales, which double up as a playground for those less inclined to fish. Unleash your inner daredevil on a jet ski or similar yacht toy as you make your way southward, drawing nearer to your journey’s turning point — Key West. As evening descends, drop anchor and let the serene waters set the stage for a dinner on the aft deck with your family or friends. As the night deepens, retreat to your quarters. A morning steeped in history awaits in the residence of one of literature’s most noteworthy figures.
Day 4 — Key West
As dawn gently bathes Key West in sunlight, prepare for yet another day in this tropical haven. You’re in the storied hometown of Ernest Hemingway. To truly embrace the essence of Key West — step ashore and tread the paths Hemingway once wandered.
Enjoy brunch at any of the town’s inviting local eateries, shop at the mall of the old town, or sip on champagne at a beachfront tavern. A standout among locals is the Hogfish Bar, which is frequented by fishermen, treasure hunters, and residents who cherish its seafood offerings and laid-back ambiance. This dining gem is nestled on a marina on Stock Island, next to the former base of the Bay of Pigs operation.
Venturing Further South
After the flavors and tales of Key West — set your sights further south towards the United States’ southernmost tip. Here, the iconic Hemingway house is worth a visit. If a land excursion isn’t on your agenda, the azure waters near the coast offer ample avenues for sunbathing, swimming, and water activities. For those yearning for an escape from the mainland’s hustle, the hidden gem of Boca Grande Key is a must-visit. This secluded offshore isle promises pristine sandbars perfect for strolls as you watch in dolphins and stingrays dance in the waters, dive alongside vibrant reef fish, and with a stroke of luck, you might even spot the ‘Queen Conch’. As evening draws close, choose the backdrop for your evening meal — be it the picturesque island or the vibrant Key West — either guarantees a dining ambiance like no other.
Day 5 — Duck Key
As the first rays of dawn break, it heralds the onset of your voyage back to Miami. Today, your compass points to the serene waterfront of Duck Key — an epicenter of natural wonders. Snorkelers and divers are treated to a visual feast in its surrounding waters, thanks to vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine biodiversity.
A Sunset Like No Other
While Key West boasts a rich historical tapestry and a bustling dining and nightlife scene, Duck Key is where tranquility reigns. Once a hub for salt mining, Duck Key has blossomed into a picturesque island retreat — magnetically draws global travelers with its idyllic charms. Here, you can swim alongside dolphins, enjoy some fishing, and witness sunsets so breathtaking, rivaling any across the globe.
Day 6 — Islamorada
Wake up to the gentle serenade of the waves, setting the mood for yet another day of exploration. Take a moment to reminisce about the wondrous places you’ve journeyed to over the past few days, letting each memory resonate as you move further up the Keys at a pace that suits you, be it carelessly basking in the sun, diving into the sapphire-colored depths, or enjoying the water toys.
Upon reaching Islamorada — anchor just off the shoreline. When evening comes, hop onto a tender and drift into town. Our dining recommendation? Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. Here, you’ll be enjoying a laid-back ambiance with live music, refreshing cocktails, and world-class fish tacos. After a meal to remember, retreat for a rejuvenating night’s slumber.
Day 7 — Miami
Take a leisurely pace this morning — it’s your final day, and there’s no rush. Ease into the brief journey back to Miami, prepare a delightful al fresco lunch, and savor the scenic vistas of the Florida Keys, allowing each sight and sound to imprint itself deeply. When the iconic Miami skyline starts to emerge on the horizon, let it serve as a gentle reminder of the world awaiting your return. The experiences, the breathtaking spots visited, and the bonds strengthened during this voyage are precious memories that you and your companions will hold close to your hearts forever.